National Geographic : 1908 May
WHERE EAST MEETS WEST a separate occupation, one to the bakers, one to the butchers, a third to the gun smiths, a popular booth, especially with the mountain men. Petticoat lane displays the discarded finery of the harem, some times, too, fine embroideries and marvel ously tinted brocades. The harness shops are gay with all sorts of colored leather trappings and bead headstalls with amu lets to keep the evil eye from the pack ponies. Crude red and green cradles and gaudily painted chests for the ladies, in which to keep their finery, are sold at the carpenter's. The tinsmiths ply a busy trade in curiously wrought metal belts, while busier and more popular than all is the inevitable coffee booth. MEDIEVAL COSTUMES AT SCODRA And the motley crowd who jostle each other in and out of the narrow ways! A Mohammedan Beg swaggers by in the cumberous fustinella, the plaited white shirt worn by the Greeks, but seen in its greatest glory on the Albanians. Here a group of wild men and women from the mountains, the former stalking stealthily in front, their ever-searching eyes on the lookout for the enemy who may be in hiding, the latter carrying heavy loads on their shoulders, possible for a walk of ten hours! Their costume is one of the most curious in existence. That of the men consists of white homespun, medieval looking leg gear, heavily striped and braided in black; an open vest, the front braided and cut in zigzags, and over this a black sleeveless wool jacket with a square fringed collar, the whole topped by a white fez. This black jacket is worn for George Kastoriot or Skenderbeg, one of the few great men the country has pro duced. He gathered the tribes together and held all the land against the Turks till he was killed, in 1467, and his people still cherish his memory so dearly that they wear mourning for him. The women wear short, very stiff skirts of the same homespun, white and black alternating in the stripes, waistcoat and long white coats of the same material ornamented in red and blue. But older still is the dress of the town men and boys of the poorer classes-a white tunic and drawers tied about the waist with a red sash and topped with a fez. This without the fez is the costume of the barbarians on the Greek and Roman vases. If this is the oldest, the palm for the ugliest is easily borne off by the well-to-do Christian women. The wearer is hardly able to get along at all in her high-heeled shoes and with the enormous weight of the material used in her trousers, which she has to hold up with both hands, and then is only able to waddle. These women go veiled in the streets and swathe themselves in a shape less scarlet coat with a square collar pinned up to the head, the whole braided in black. Their husbands and sons affect jaunty jackets of dark red so heavily em broidered as to appear black, but then everybody of importance is brave with embroidery in Scodra and wears garments that are marvels of the art of needle work, with the comforting conviction that the fashions will never change and that clothes will last a lifetime and can then be passed on to the servants and de pendents of the family. At night Scodra was uncanny; it is un safe even for the natives to venture out after dark. Few houses showed a light, and all was silent and mysterious. The last night of our stay we were aroused towards dawn by hearing a stray shot or two, which soon grew into a perfect fusillade, a bell tolled, and as the- sun rose the Sultan's unkempt troops turned out, each munching his ration of dry bread as he rode (all hunched up on the small pony) after the possible malefac tors. We thought the massacre of which the town lives in ever present dread had really begun, and we were greatly re lieved to learn that the commotion was only caused by robbers in the ward. We tore ourselves regretfully from bar baric Scodra, so brilliant by day, so de pressing by night, for much still lay before us, so back across the lake we went, and were welcomed by our friends in Cettinje as if from out of the lion's den. With many promises to return 33'